May 30, 2023


Digital Art Community

Making Book Part 4: The Curse of the Creative Class

On July 13, we sent the final corrections for “The Anarchist’s Workbench” to the printing plant. When I woke up on July 14, I couldn’t get out of bed.

Like a lot of writers and artists I know, I deal with clinical depression. I am open about it, but it doesn’t define my work or factor into my personality much (plus seemed too, well, depressing). In fact, I doubt I’ll ever mention my diagnosis on the blog again. I don’t want this disease to become my calling card. (Norm has his tool belt, Marc Spagnuolo has tattoos and Schwarz is like Eeyore, lol.)

But it’s part of the story of this book.

Two years ago I weaned myself off antidepressants (I hate taking pills), but after lying in bed for two hours that Tuesday morning I knew I should call my doctor. He put me back on medication, but the stuff usually needs to float about my brain for about four weeks before I feel relief.

(I suspect there are well-meaning people out there who want to give me advice about depression. Thanks, but really I’m fine. My health is my problem alone. I’ve been through the wringer and around the horn during the last 14 years. My doctor and I know what works for me. But I do sincerely appreciate your good intentions.)

The next step to get my head working right is to push myself into building things. Once I get moving, my body can handle the rest. Plus, working on a project helps speed up the time. When I’m depressed, every day feels 40 hours long. If I’m deep in a project, time passes normally.

Luckily I have a backlog of commission work. I knocked out a couple small pieces, and then looked at the next customer on the list: Two Scottish Darvel chairs.

Hmm, I thought, I could start taking photos of the chairs’ construction process for “The Stick Chair Book.” This serendipity seemed like a gift. I could build a couple chairs (which I love doing) plus feel like I was moving forward on a book project.

The next day I got in my truck and headed for the lumberyard. It was too early for the drugs to start working, but I was already starting to feel more like myself.

— Christopher Schwarz

Note: The last few entries in this series have been pretty touchy-feely. Next up I shift gears into a discussion of photography and lighting and how we produce photos for Lost Art Press books.

Read other posts from the “Making Book” series here.